Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas 2020 will look vastly different from previous seasons complements of COVID-19. The sooner you can start planning your family gathering and holiday celebration, the more likely you’re going to pull off something that is satisfactory given the circumstances. There are a lot of things to think about for your 2020 holiday season.
Considerations For Holiday Family Gathering
The CDC has guidelines to mitigate the risks of spreading coronavirus during the pandemic. None of these factors should overrule any local health and safety rules, laws or regulations. You should consider many elements when determining how to proceed with your family gathering.
• Consider the community levels of COVID-19 where you live and where your guests are coming from. In locations with higher rates of COVID-19, it would be wise to be as virtual as possible.
• Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation have a higher risk of spreading the virus. Outdoor gatherings or indoor gatherings with open windows and doors are lower risk.
• Longer gatherings have higher risk over shorter visits.
• The more people at your holiday dinner the more risk of spreading the virus, but the size of your home or facility can also be a factor. Think about how to social distance during your celebration.
• Consider the behavior of your attendees before and during the event. People who are engaging with preventative behaviors, such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing, pose less of a risk.
Be Flexible and Discuss the Situation
As we’ve seen since March, guidelines for the pandemic are constantly being adjusted for many factors. If you’re planning an in-house holiday gathering, you may need to have a plan B or even C. If you’re planning an indoor gathering with added ventilation, you may have to adjust for Mother Nature. A CDC announcement in October reported that airline travel itself was relatively safe. It’s the lack of social distancing that is a problem. You may need to keep a running dialogue with your guests or hosts.
Some family members may not feel safe in meeting with others. People with a higher risk for severe illness may not be comfortable in attending. If an attendee is exposed to coronavirus, he or she should isolate for 14 days, according to the CDC. Instead of shaming or cajoling loved ones, respect their decision about family gatherings. Put your energy into finding ways to include your family members virtually.
Ideas For Hosting a Holiday Gathering
If you do decide to host or attend an in-person gathering, here are some methods to reduce your risk of spreading coronavirus:
• Go for outdoor activities or increase indoor ventilation as much as possible.
• Limit the number of people as much as you can.
• Provide extra supplies, such as HALOmasks, sanitizer and tissues.
• Find ways to prevent close contact, such as hugging and kissing.
• Don’t go out to a restaurant at high volume mealtimes.
• Remind people to wash hands and wear masks.
• Find ways to reduce the spread of germs through touching utensils while serving. Use single-serve items instead of sharable condiments. Avoid self-serve foods and drinks so that multiple people aren’t touching the utensils.
• Limit people in areas where food and drink are being handled and served.
• Limit alcohol use, because it can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.
Celebrating the Holidays Virtually
Virtual celebrations may be the safest way to get-together for the holidays without putting others at risk. Planning activities can make the connection between the holiday traditions and video chats unique.
Plan a Shared Activity
We all have those simple traditions that make family gatherings special. Maybe you always get a candle in a unique fragrance or have a game for the family to try out. If you’re celebrating virtually, discuss those traditions so everyone is prepared to share the ritual. Create a shared song list or find a movie for everyone to enjoy together.
Send a Care Package
Mail a package or drop off treats in person for everyone to open on the holiday. One of you could make centerpieces and another person could make mini pies for all the homes. You could send everyone in the family the same jigsaw puzzle or different joke books. Just make sure everyone knows not to open until the holiday.
Try a Potluck Twist
Sharing food may not be an option, so have everyone else bring a different contribution to the virtual celebration. Get out some old family photos and share memories. Tell stories about past holidays. Need some inspiration to get the dialogue going? Just ask questions, “what was your favorite gift?” or “where would you love to celebrate next year?”
Make Some New Traditions
Don’t be afraid to try some new things for the holidays. Schedule a call to meal prep with one of your family members. Share your favorite recipes among the group and let everyone take a turn at making cranberry salad. Try some new recipes this year. Let one of your children host the virtual event, planning opening and closing ceremonies and keeping things moving through the day. Give every family the responsibility for a portion of the event.
COVID-19 is going to change family celebrations in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up our traditions. We just have to adapt to a new normal. Face masks are part of that normal. Shop at HALOLIFE for HALOmasks that are comfortable, antibacterial and super-breathable. Our face masks are perfect for everyday use, indoors and outdoor activities. Let's stay safe this holiday season.